NK Gorica will hold a ten-point lead when the Slovenian First League resumes on 6 March, but a slew of transfers means the championship race will be no formality.
Second-placed NK Publikum should give the title-holders a run for their money, having been busy strengthening their squad. National team striker Sebastjan Cimirotic joined from NK Olimpija Ljubljana in the biggest coup, while Dominik Beršnjak (NK Maribor), Samir Duro (FC Saturn Moskovskaya Oblast), Duško Stajic (1. FC Slovácko) and Cameroonian Gabriel Zambe also arrived.
Meanwhile, Gorica are coming to terms with the departure of key striker Aleksandar Rodic for England's Portsmouth FC. Gorica also lost midfielder Vladislav Lungu, but brought in two players from Serbia and Montenegro - forward Rade Vukotic, formerly of OFK Beograd, and defender Vladimir Curcic, leaving FK Mogren.
However, the big news was the possible return of Zlatko Zahovic to Slovenia with hometown club Maribor. The forward left SL Benfica in January, but after much media speculation surrounding Maribor and NK Dinamo Zagreb, Zahovic opted to sit out the remainder of the season and decide on his future in the summer. Amir Karic also rejected a move to the Slovenian Cup holders, instead going to NK Mura, while Maribor lost Ales Ceh to NK Drava as well.
Olimpija have had a tough winter with Cimirotic, Anton Zlogar, Boštjan Cesar, Blaz Puc, Fausto Budicin, Branko Ilic, Nedim Jusufbegovic, Darijan Matic and Janez Aljancic all departing the financially-troubled club. Third in the league, the capital team will continue with a squad of young players and loan signings, and may even concede top-flight status in the summer, opting for a rebirth in the style of ACF Fiorentina.
Ljubljana mourns Botonjic
Across the city, NK Ljubljana are mourning the death of goalkeeper Nedzad Botonjic. On 8 February, the 27-year-old former Gorica, NK Dravograd and Mura player collapsed and could not be resuscitated.
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